My Favorite Kauai Restaurant?
Do I have a favorite Kauai restaurant? I sure do! Hawaii has an amazing variety of food from all over the world. They range from unique creations made with island flair to the simple plate lunch.
Hawaii has long been known as "the melting pot", because there are so many different cultures here. In turn, local chefs have done some very creative things with their menus. When you add this local flair to such things as fresh seafood, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fruits, and vegetables, you get some incredible cuisine.
This unique taste of Hawaii has emerged with a name of its own--Hawaii Regional Cuisine. It includes such novelties as rack of lamb with macadamia nuts or fresh ahi (tuna) with spicy wasabi sauce.
Get ready for a truly mouth-watering experience... Here are my favorite Hawaiian Restaurants on Kauai.
Best Expensive Kauai Restaurant
Note--By expensive, I mean it will cost at least $20 per adult. This does not include drinks, appetizers, dessert, or taxes & tip.
My favorite Kauai restaurant would have to be The Beach House Restaurant in Poipu. You can't beat its combination of great food & service, and beautiful location.
It overlooks the ocean at Lawai Beach, so you can dine while enjoying the Poipu coastline. You can watch the surfers and spot sea turtles that frequently pop-up to say hello. You may even see whales during whale season (December-March).
I would recommend getting any of the daily fresh fish specials. If you don't like fish, they have lamb, steak, chicken, and vegetarian dishes as well. The Macadamia Nut Crabcakes Appetizer (pictured) is also VERY good. Reservations are recommended. tel (808) 742-1424
Sidebar--The best time to go is at sunset, so you can enjoy the view before it gets dark. The tables with the best views are highly sought after by everyone, so you may not get the table you want. If table selection is going to "make or break" your experience, you may want to go somewhere else.
These other Hawaiian restaurants deserve an honorable mention because they are all good...Choosing just one Kauai restaurant was not an easy decision!
- Tidepools Restaurant--This romantic restaurant (pictured) is located at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Poipu on the south shore. It is a series of thatched huts that make it a really unique dining experience.
- Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill--Chef Roy Yamaguchi is well known for his Pacific Rim Cuisine. I would recommend you visit one of his restaurants while in Hawaii. He has locations on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.
Best moderately priced Kauai restaurant
Note--Moderately priced means it will cost between $10-$20 per adult. This does not include drinks, appetizers, dessert, taxes & tip.
My favorite moderately priced Kauai restaurant would have to be Duke's Canoe Club. I gave it special consideration because it is the original Duke's. It is located right on Kalapaki Beach at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club in Lihue. Duke's has great atmosphere with its ocean views and live music, as well as great food.
It is another perfect spot for a sunset dinner. I would recommend any of the daily fresh fish specials. They also have awesome steaks (or pictured prime rib) and other island favorites.
You have to go to one of their locations while in Hawaii. They have other restaurants on Oahu and Maui.
Here are other Kauai restaurants that are very reasonably priced. They are all very good and could have easily taken the #1 spot.
- Koloa Fish Market (pictured)--This is not really a Hawaiian restaurant...it is more like a hole-in-the-wall where you pick up food and take it to the beach. Seating is very limited, but the food is GREAT! As the name implies, fish is the special of the day. It is located in Koloa on the south shore. tel (808) 742-1018
- Hanamaulu Restaurant--This Kauai restaurant is located on the windward (east) side in Lihue. I remember going here many times as a child, and I still love it. They serve great Japanese and Chinese dishes at very affordable prices. Reservations are recommended, especially for the tea house area. tel (808) 245-2511.
- Barbecue Inn--This Kauai restaurant is also located on the windward (east) side in Lihue. They feature both American and local favorites. Reservations are recommended. tel (808) 245-2921.
- Brennecke’s Beach Broiler (pictured)--Brennecke's is located on the south shore in Poipu. They have great burgers, steaks, and fresh fish. Reservations are recommended. tel (808) 742-7588.
- Bull Shed--This Kauai restaurant is located oceanfront in Waipouli, on the windward (east) shore. They are known for their steaks, prime rib, and rack of lamb. Reservations are recommended. tel (808) 822-3791.
Best Cheap Kauai Restaurant
Note--By "cheap", I mean a meal and a drink should be under $10.
Many places serve what is known as a plate lunch. The plate lunch is an island staple consisting of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni or tossed salad, and your choice of an entree such as:
- Teriyaki chicken or beef
- Hamburger steak with brown gravy
- Chicken Katsu (battered and served with a sweet sauce similar to BBQ sauce)
- Roast Pork with brown gravy
- Breaded Chicken with brown gravy (pictured)
- Lemon chicken
- Mahi Mahi (fish)
- Beef stew
- Curry stew
Of course, if you can't choose just one entree, you can do what I do and get a "mixed plate". They range in price from $5-$8. Many places offer "mini" versions that are even less. These "minis" are more than enough for my wife.
My favorite cheap Kauai restaurant is one of the first things that come to mind when I think of Kauai. Hamura's Saimin Stand is an institution there. They are located on the windward (east) side in Lihue.
Saimin is the local term for ramen noodles. Hamura's has been a local favorite for decades as you will figure out by the frequent lines waiting to get in.
Want to go when there are no lines? Try off-peak hours or...They are open till midnight on the weekends...Nothing beats a late night saimin on the weekends! Don't forget to try their famous Lilikoi (passion fruit) Pie for dessert. tel (808) 245-3271.
Saimin not sound appealing to you? Don't worry...here are more traditional cheap places to eat.
- Waipouli Restaurant--This Kauai restaurant is located on the windward (east) side in the Waipouli Town Center. They serve great local food and are always busy. tel (808) 822-9311
- Ma's Family Restaurant--This family restaurant is also located on the windward side in Lihue. They have great plate lunches. tel (808) 245-3142
- Hanalei Mixed Plate--This is another great Kauai restaurant for plate lunches. It is located on the the north shore in Hanalei. They also serve burgers and sandwiches. tel (808) 826-7888
- Ono Family Restaurant--This is my favorite breakfast stop. It is located on the windward (east) side in Kapaa. They have great omelettes and pancake varieties. tel (808) 822-1710
- Bubba's Burgers--This Kauai restaurant has two locations-One on the windward side in Kapaa, and one on the north shore in Hanalei. They are known for...you guessed it, great burgers. tel (808) 826-7839 or (808) 823-0069
- Brick Oven Pizza--Some people will tell you this Kauai restaurant has the best pizza anywhere. I don't know about that, but it definitely ranks as one of the best. (There are some pretty good pizza joints in Chicago ya know...:) Brick Oven is located in Kalaheo, next to Poipu. tel (808) 332-8561
Okay...writing this has made me extremely hungry! Hopefully, it has done the same for you, and you satisfy that appetite when you get to Kauai. Enjoy your culinary adventure in paradise!
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